Entree to Commons eateries restricted

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Indy Politics
Companies will find it harder to entertain customers and would-be clients in the House of Commons dining rooms in future, writes Chris Blackhurst.

Following a flurry of complaints after last summer's "sleaze" scandals, the MPs' Catering Committee has ruled that the dining rooms may not in future be used for "direct commercial gain, or as an inducement to recruit new members of outside organisations".

The heavily-booked rooms, regarded as one of the perks of being an MP, may only be hired by MPs and official Parliamentary organisations. But from now on, the MP must declare if he or she has an interest in the body hosting the event. Last summer, several MPs complained the rooms were booked for months ahead by members acting on behalf of outside businesses. Lobbying firms were using them to impress clients, attract work and meet MPs.

Lobbying is still allowed, but "straight private use" is now banned.